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ARTH 3150: Etruscan and Roman Art: Researching an Object from Ancient Rome

Researching an object: finding items in a bibliography

Often a good place to begin your research on a specific object is with the website of the museum where it is kept. The Portrait of Lucius Verus, below, is an ancient Roman object in the Toledo Museum of Art. Once I find it in the museum's online collections database, I can see the database includes a bibliography.

Museum database screenshot with a bibliography highlighted, text reading 'click bibliography to display publications about this object'

It's helpful to know if the items listed are books or articles, because it will help you know how to get them.

  • Books have one title, in italics, and a publisher.
  • Articles will have two titles - one in italics (which is the journal title) and one in quotes (which is the article title) and page numbers.
  • Something that has two titles, page numbers and and publisher is usually a book chapter.

Bibliography section highlighting the different types of sources

Not every item listed in the bibliography will actually be useful to you! Some may merely print photos of the object or mention it in passing. You will not always be able to tell this just from the citation.

In the bibliography above, the items most likely to be useful are the articles by Gazda and Albertson. Why?

  • Specificity. The titles of these articles indicate they focus on this statue (Gazda) or one very like it (Albertson). Contrast that with the book by Vermeule, which is about ancient sculpture in American museums, so is likely to have only a mention or a paragraph about this particular object.
  • Length. Gazda's article is 12 pages long. Albertson's is only two, but this still looks longer than some of the other items in the bibliography. Longer things usually have more information!

Finding a book start to finish (even if we don't have it)

To see if BGSU has a book, copy and paste the title into Summon. We'll use Vermeule's book Greek and Roman Sculpture in America as our example.

Screenshot of book title pasted into Summon search box on library home page

Pay attention to what you see in the results list: usually Summon will show you book reviews or articles first.

Screenshot highlighting book reviews vs the book itself

Use the limiter on the left to only show results that are books, and then see if you see the title.

Use the limiter for Book/eBook in Summon on the left. If the book doesn't show up, click on Search OhioLINK at the top of the screen.

If the title you need isn't showing, we probably don't have the book. Go to the Search OhioLINK link at the top and paste the book title into the search box there.

Once you find a book in OhioLINK, use the request button to the left of the title to have it sent to BGSU

OhioLINK books usually arrive in 3-5 days.

Finding an article start to finish (even if we don't have it)

To find articles, I usually copy and paste the article title, in quotes, into Summon, sometimes also including the author's last name, as I did for Gazda's article below. Frequently the article is not found.

To find an article, put the article title in quotes into the search box and then the author's last name.

The second thing to do is see if we have the journal in any format. So go back to the library's home page and use our Journals by Title list. 

On the library homepage, the Journals by Title link is below the search box.

This time, do NOT search for the article title - you HAVE to search for the journal title.

In the Journals by title list, search for the journal title - not the article title or author!

If you get no results again, go to Interlibrary Loan (ILL), which is our system for getting copies of articles from other libraries (similar to how we use OhioLINK to get copies of books from other libraries). The link to Interlibrary Loan is on the library's home page. Fill out the form with the information about your article. Interlibrary Loan (ILL) article requests usually come within a week. You will get a link to a pdf you can download.

After you have found items from your bibliography, you will need to do more research to contextualize your object. The next page in this guide will tell you how.

Your Librarian

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Laura Sheets